How To Bring An Iconic Brand Into The Digital Age

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A recurring theme at PI Apparel Berlin earlier this month, was how those of you working in luxury and legacy brands, which have for decades if not centuries, prided themselves in being heritage labels steeped in tradition, can appeal to a newer, younger and wider audience without alienating traditional customers…..

Over the two days we were lucky enough to hear from some of fashion’s forward thinkers – including Cathy McGabe, CIO at Jaeger, who is currently spearheading the digital business transformation. The sixties helped establish Jaeger as an iconic luxury brand, but to stay relevant they have to ensure they engage with their customers in the fast moving digital marketplace. Having lead IT-enabled change at Burberry, another iconic British designer brand, Cathy was the ideal person to lead the change, and she joined us at PI Apparel Berlin to share the journey of their digital transformation.

Here are some of our key takeaways from Cathy’s session:

1: Stop digging your heels in

New technologies are changing the game, and change is inevitable so must be embraced. Use these new technologies instead of digging your heels in. During Jonathan Chippendale’s PI Apparel Berlin session ‘Exploring and Expanding the Role of Technology in Communicating with Today’s Digital Consumer‘, he highlighted that luxury brands never feature in any list of innovative companies, mainly due to the fact they are stubbornly trying to maintain a ‘status quo’. However, as more companies develop mobile and 3D strategies, and adopt technologies like PLM this will change.

2: Get Engaged

The way people are communicating, buying and engaging with brands has changed, and if you want to tap into newer audiences you must get your strategy for this on point. Cathy McGabe explained how a precursor to this is looking at your customer journey, and then collecting and examining the subsequent customer data to see what’s working and what’s not. You can then work on your engagement strategy beginning with a welcome strategy and subsequently taking this digital.


Another great tip from Cathy during her keynote ‘Bringing an Iconic Brand into the Digital Age from Concept to Consumer’, is to ‘keep your finger on the pulse’. How does she do this? By sitting on a board of a couple startups. We think this is a fantastic way of keeping your mind fresh and innovation on the brain.


This is something that has come up time and time again, and this is a tip all brands new and old can learn from. Whether it’s with other brands or other industries – collaboration leads to great things. The audience was wowed at last year’s New York Apparel where the amazing Lauren Bowker (also speaking at PI Hong Kong) shared some of THE UNSEEN’s collabs including a head piece with Swarovski that measures and displays brain activity. Jaeger on the other hand, have chosen to collaborate with the likes of Artist Daisy Cook to digitalise her designs into their clothing for fresh designs that appeal to an expanded audience.

5: Don’t ‘Let Them Eat Cake’

Examine your customers key pain points and go from there. This is what Jaeger appear to have done in releasing their 30-degree washable suit. By adopting this new smarter fabric, they have added extra value to an iconic staple.

Want More? 

Cathy’s session along with the other PI Apparel Berlin sessions and a selection of onsite interviews with PI Apparel speakers will be released next week. Sign up here to be sent a new session each week – for free.



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